Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion is disgusted that around 200 people including women and children were living in tents for up to six months while houses were being re-built or refurbished at Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island.
“There were reports in the media yesterday that up to 200 residents at Galiwin’ku were living in tents for up to six months while houses were being re-built under the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program – this is disgusting at any time but especially given that the Territory is in the build up to the wet season,” Senator Scullions said.
“Families can’t possible live in cramped conditions in our hot and humid climate with torrential downpours starting to occur – maybe Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin should re-write the Spilt Enz song from Six Months in a Leaky Boat to Six Months in a Leaky Tent for her Ministerial theme song.
Note to Minister: Since records began it has always rained in the wet season.
“East Arnhem Shire deputy president and Galiwin’ku housing reference group member Kaye Thurlow said construction times had been underestimated – highlighting another failure of the Federal Government in Indigenous Affairs.
“This Government is completely inept in helping Indigenous Australians and this shows they couldn’t run a chook raffle.
“Jenny Macklin must act now to get these families into their homes or suitable accommodation as soon as possible – six months in a tent is unacceptable.
“Amnesty called conditions in many of the remote communities third world – here is more proof of this government’s shameful record in Indigenous Affairs.
“Is Jenny Macklin channelling Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi when he told people made homeless by an earthquake: “They should see it like a weekend of camping.”
“This fiasco comes on top of many others I have found, including the debacle of the only road access to a new suburb in Maningrida likely to frequently isolate the residents from essential services during the wet season,” Senator Scullion said.
Download media release:
Galiwin’ku people deserve better than six months in a leaky tent.pdf